The sit-in protest against Citizenship (Amendment) Act and National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Bareilly was called off reportedly after Hindu Jagran Ekta Samiti tried to remove the protesters, uprooted their tent and threatened them not to protest against the newly enacted citizenship law.
On the lines of Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh, hundreds of women, men and children had gathered for a sit-in protest at city’s Islamia Inter College ground. They were forced to call off the protest after the police reportedly withdrew permission to strike in the locality.
“On January 20, one lakh people were gathered here on the call of Ittehad-e-Millat Council (IMC) Chief Tauqeer Raza and he told people about CAA and NRC. He also appealed to the people not to involve any kind of violence. Later, hundreds of people, after getting permission from the district administration, started a sit-in at the same ground against CAA. Later, a large number of people of Hindu Jagran Ekta Samiti came to the site and erected a tent to support CAA. When people opposed them and asked them to go somewhere else, as it can flare create tension, they did not pay heed,” Faiz, a local resident told NewsClick.
The people claimed that they called off their protest to maintain cordial atmosphere and to maintain law and order. They also said that they had sought prior permission from departments concerned, but the permission was denied later.
Nadeem Khan, a key organiser of the protest, told NewsClick, “We started the sit-in on January 5 after getting permission from the district administration and it went on peacefully for almost three days. But suddenly, police came to us and asked us to call off the protest and when we resisted, they went back. Later, at least 15 people of Hindu Jagran Ekta Samiti came at the same ground from the back gate and started erecting another tent in the support of CAA. When we asked them politely to do the same somewhere else, they threatened us. Even the police was there, but did not intervene. Later, we called off the protest because we did not want any kind of scuffle.”
The citizens alleged that Hindu Jagran Ekta Samiti’s protest in favour of CAA at a minority school’s ground was “planned” to disrupt the peaceful protest. “This was a conspiracy by the police; otherwise, they would have never come to Islamia ground. When tensions escalated on the ground, we removed our tents and called off the protest. For us, peace in the city is our priority. We will start our protest with a large number of people against the divisive law and will continue until its rollback,” Khan added.
Meanwhile, Devendra Singh, Circle Officer, refused to comment and cited his leave as the reason.